tonight on "nightline," okay to shoot? a young mother home alone with her baby, two men tries to break in. she's armed with a shotgun and a telephone. >> i've got two guns in my hand. is it okay to shoot him? plus, swamp brothers. neck deep and nose to nose with death. >> she's crushing my arm. >> they brave nature's gnarliest places to capture ain't chen predators. we wade in. and, a daughter's story. she was a 9-year-old victim who captured the nation's broken heart. tonight, for the first time, her parents talk about their emotional meeting with the congresswoman who barely survived.
>> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," january 4th, 2012. >> good evening, i'm cynthia mcfadden. we gip tonight with an extraordinary case of a mother's protective instinct. 18-year-older sarah mckinley was home alone on new year's eve with her baby. her husband has died the week before of cancer. when two men tried to break in. she then made two fateful decisions. she picked up a shotgun and she picked up the telephone and called 911 and asked for permission to fire. here's abc's ryan owens. >> reporter: it started like a classic horror movie. a young mother, alone with her baby. nothing around but the lonely plains of oklahoma. when the family dog group growl the door. >> he was trying to tell me something. so, i saw that it was that man.
>> reporter: that man was a 24-year-old who sarah mckinley believed was stalking her. police say he was armed with a 12-inch hunting knife and he wasn't alone. detectives say he was with this friend. the duo was trying to break down the door. >> i got the 12-gauge and proceeded to walk back to the bedroom with my son. he was crying at the time, so, i put a bottle in his mouth. so, i got a pistol and called 911 on my cell phone. >> i'm here with myself with my infant baby. can i please get a did patcher out here? >> reporter: since she lives in the middle of nowhere, that would take awhile. for 20 minutes, she waited as the intruders tried everything to knock down her door. >> the noise of the busting of the doors was worse than any part. that was the scariest, wondering which time he hit it was going to be the time he got in. >> yes, i've got two guns in my
hand. is it okay to shoot him if he comes in this door? >> well, i can't tell you that you can do that, but you do what you have to do to protect your baby. >> i was going to have to choose him or my son and it wasn't going to be my son, so i did what i had to do. >> reporter: the second he broke down the door, she shot and killed him. his alleged accomplice ran away, but later turned himself in. police call the shooting justified. >> you're allowed to shoot an unauthorized person that is in your home. >> reporter: oklahoma is one of 30 states with something called the castle doctrine. basically, your house is your castle, and you have the right to kill to protect yourself. other states require a homeowner to try to retreat or escape before using deadly force. southern methodist university law professor jeffrey bellin explains. >> if you can safely retreat, we're going to ask you to do
that, as opposed to respond, especially with deadly force. if you don't, you can be prosecuted. >> reporter: though he couldn't think of a single example where a homeowner ended up in prison. if you decide to prosecute who shoots somebody who is breaking into their home, at some point, that has to go before a juror judge and there's going to be a lot of sympathy. >> many of the cases that do get prosecuted don't even make it past the grand jury stage. >> reporter: that's what happened in 2007 in texas. >> i've got a shotgun. do you want me to stop them? >> nope. don't do that. ain't no property worth shooting somebody over, okay? >> reporter: a retired computer engineer is watching two men break in, not his home, but his neighbor's. >> i'm not going to let him get away. i can't take a chance on getting killed over this, okay. >> no. >> i'm going to shoot. >> reporter: the 911 operator becked him not to. >> here it goes, buddy. you hear the shotgun clicking and i'm going. >> don't go outside.
>> reporter: the next sound o the tape? is the man shooting and killing those two burglars. >> move, you're dead. >> reporter: even in that case, where the homeowner was protecting his neighbor's home, a texas grand jury refused to indict him. in sarah mckinley's case, police say she's legally in the clear. her conscience is, too. >> i would do it again. not because i'd want to, but because of my son. >> reporter: a young mother fiercely protecting her child. >> there's nothing more dangerous than a mom with her baby. >> reporter: i'm ryan owens for "nightline" in dallas. >> a mother's love. just ahead, it's mud wrestling, man versus beast. and the stakes are life and death. great guest experience. that makes my day.
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waded into an alligator infested lagoon. we'll leave that to the swamp brothers. without further ado, here's abc's matt gutman. >> there's something right here. see the bubbles? >> reporter: go get it. in this putrid musk, 200 million years of killer instinct. gators, a pack of them. >> got one! >> reporter: and nothing between our flesh and their teeth. >> watch the tail. >> reporter: almost had a heart attack. welcome to the slithery, slippery tooth and adrenaline-fused life of the swamp brothers. getting out of here. this is ridiculous. hosts of their own show on discovery called, you might have guessed, "swamp brothers," the k brothers provide a perfect vehicle to experience swamp life. robbie, a former personal assistant for the band poison, exudes the sort of hard core qualities associated with rockers.
fearless and brazen, maybe a little overly confident in his immortality. >> can you think of doing that while you got 1500 pounds of pressure per square inch on you? >> my guess is know. >> reporter: his little brother stephen represents most of us. >> it's missing at you. >> reporter: someone with a healthy sense of self-preservation. >> going to my favorite room. >> i will not go in there. >> reporter: for robbie, it was a way of making a living combines the things he loves. reptiles, education and a good wrestle. they save and breed reptiles, often selling them for medical research. their mission is to educate us and protect them. together, the often bickering brothers -- >> a copperhead bite will not kill you -- >> probably kill me. i'm allergic to bee venom. >> you're an idiot. >> reporter: offer a weekly tutorial on all things swamp. what's not to like? the brothers invited "nightline"
to their reptile farm in north florida. do i have reason to be nervous? and they quickly -- >> you're doing it. >> reporter: nikki is our fearless producer who happens not to be so fearless when it comes to snakes. the brothers are eager to change that. >> overcome my fear. >> reporter: why do people keep these snakes? >> what's the point? venom is used in several medical research, like green mamba venom is used for stroke research and for -- it's a blood thinner. so, they use for it heart attacks, strokes. water moccasin venom, they are using it to work on cures for arthritis. >> reporter: and this is called venom milking. once processed into a fine powder, it goes for $5,000 to $6,000 a gram.
>> that's enough to kill 10, 12 people. what's the matter? put it away. >> i'm not touching that. no, that's something i don't want to even gamble with. >> reporter: robbie's been hooked on rep times since he was a kid. >> i've been dealing with these since i've been 8. and to this day i'm still just -- i'm gaga over this stuff. >> reporter: a lot of the work on the farm entails caring for his critters. not something for the paint of heart. >> get the bag in front of his head. come on, girl. >> reporter: nor is feeding their most dangerous creature, a cuban crocodile. >> she's like the pit bull of crocks. these guys are the most acrobatic crocodile there is. they can jump four feet vertically, just from straight down, boom. >> reporter: this crocodile is one of the most endangered in the world. often hunted for its valuable skin. >> it will sell for 10 grand. a baby hatching will set for
$3,000. >> reporter: wow. >> right out of the egg. >> reporter: next, the gator swamp. oh, there are real live gators in there? >> real live gators. >> reporter: that one right there? >> yep. >> reporter: catching the gator isn't hard. requiring grabbing the gator's snout and then riding him. >> dragging me. that's one strong gator. good sized one. >> reporter: yeah, good size. taller than me. now, it's my turn. >> matt's a pro now. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm matt gutman with the swamp brothers. >> yikes. better matt than me. "swamp brothers" airs on the discovery channel. next up, gabby giffords' first meeting with the parents of the 9-year-old girl that died in the attack she survived. [ kyle ] my bad. [ roger ] tell me you have good insurance. yup, i've got... [ dennis ] ...allstate. really? i was afraid you'd have some cut-rate policy.
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9-year-old christina tailor green. her life, strangely book ended by american tragedy. she had been born on 9/11. tonight, her parents speak with me about their inspiring daughter and their lives now. she might have become any of the things her 9-year-old heart dreamed of. a baseball player. a doctor. even president. but a day that should have been just another tucson morning ended in unimaginable sorrow. >> our neighbor came to pick up christina taylor about 9:45 and she was going to go and see gabrielle giffords and she was very excited to go. and she had all her questions ready. and i just told her i loved her and made sure she put her seat belt on. >> reporter: and you ran back in the house? >> yeah, because it was chilly in the morning. so, i went and got her hoodie. had a big peace sign on the back. >> reporter: but no seat belt or hoodie or mother's love could
protect christina taylor that morning. a gunman's bullets ripped through the parking lot. and when the shooting was done, 13 people were wounded. many gravely, including congresswoman giffords. six were dead. the youngest, christina taylor. >> worst day of our lives. you wake up with a beautiful family. you come home for dinner and you are one less. >> i kept on pinching myself on the arm over and over again, i had red welts because i thought it was a really bad nightmare. that i was going to wake up any minute. >> but the tragedy was all too real. the loss, too painful. their little girl was laid to rest with family, friends and her little league teammates looking on. four days after the shooting, president obama honored the fallen and told christina's unfulfilled dreams up as a symbol for the nation. >> i want to live up to her expectations. i want our democracy to be as
good as christina imagined it. i want america to be as good as she imagined it. >> reporter: and that now famous line has become the title of roxanna green's new book, about her daughter's life, death and though she touched. over the holidays, christina's parents and her brother dallas met with congresswoman giffords for the first time. mark kelly had deeply touched the greens by attending christina's memorial while his wife was still fighting for her life. >> we just visit together and -- >> kind of hugged each other and support each other, said, you know, we're all going -- we're all in this together, so -- >> we're all going to be okay. >> let's just -- we want to make sure they didn't harbor any guilt in the matter. >> reporter: so, it was you comforting them? >> to a certain degree. >> they were comforting us, as well. it was nice to tell her we lovo
her and hope she gets better every day. >> reporter: remarkably, they say they are not filled with anger. not even towards the accused gunman. >> we don't really want to talk about the gunman, because we don't feel -- we feel likeifies. >> anger has never entered our lives. >> our faith in god an not getting answer regry really hel. i get angry at everything. so, as you can -- my wife knows that. i mean, i -- i can lose it in a heartbeat. but we didn't allow that to happen. because i think that would have tore us apart. >> reporter: you do write in the book that the two of you have different views on the death penalty. opposed? in favor? >> definitely. >> reporter: would it give you comfort if he was executed? >> not really. not going to bring my girl back. >> reporter: time has not healed
their loss but has given them new goals. they've started a foundation in their daughter's name. one more way of giving her life meaning. >> there's times when i'm -- i'm almost afraid to move on, because we're going to stop talking about her or at some point, the country is going to move on, you know, that's why we felt it was important to tell the story. >> we don't want anyone to ever forget about her because she was an amazing little girl and she's an amazing story and i'm sure she's doing great things up in heaven. but she did exceptional work in the nine years she was here. and that's what or story about. it's a story of hope. >> reporter: so, the two of you are pretty darn inspiring. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> roxanna green's book is in stores now. thanks for watching abc news. remember, "good morning america." we're always online at